Senior advisors from Prime Minister David Cameron’s team heard about how the Government can encourage more women to set up and grow their own businesses from FSB members with first-hand experience.
Members discussed the need for a greater range of female small business role models and mentors, easier access to alternative finance and more tailored business support focused on the specific challenges women face. Another of the big issues highlighted by the members was around building confidence and peer support.
Together with improvements in education, this would see a cultural shift to encourage more women to set themselves up in business as the economic recovery continues. FSB will be exploring these issues in more depth in new research into women in business to be launched next year.
The FSB delegation came from across the nations and regions of the UK to share their experiences and real life business stories. Helen Walbey travelled from Wales to share her insights as the owner of a motorcycle and scooter garage, while Patricia O’Hagan MBE, owner of a biometric security company came from Northern Ireland and Caroline Bell contributed her knowledge as the owner of an organic dairy farm in the North East.
Gudrun Lauret, FSB Women North East, said: “Understanding the importance of diversity and getting more women into business is critical for a dynamic and vibrant small business sector.
“Women-led smaller businesses already contribute over £75 billion to the UK economy. If women were to set up businesses and growing them at the same rate as men, we would see a huge boost to growth and prosperity in this country.”
Caroline Bell FSB member and owner of Acorn Dairy in Darlington, added: “I was delighted to be part of the FSB team given the chance to express my views directly at 10 Downing Street. It’s important that every government department, public agency, local authority and LEP understands what needs to be done to boost female entrepreneurship, from helping them to bid for contracts to tailored business support.”